Even if you don’t know whether I’m Christian, I promise not to take offense. I’m tired of watching friends, neighbours, and colleagues tying themselves in knots trying to think of a culturally-sensitive thing to say to me (usually “have a nice holiday” or something similar). You’re also welcome to wish me a happy version of any other holiday, religious or not — I prefer a world where we celebrate all cultures and religions to one where we pretend religion and culture don’t exist. I live in a big, multi-ethnic city, and my acquaintances who are Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, or Hindu seem to have no problem using the C word, so the awkwardness seems limited to, well, Christians (or at least people whose ancestors were Christians).
Actually, since my ancestors were Christian, I’d also be happy if you wished me a “Merry Xmas”. During the 70′s or 80′s, there was a wrong-headed reaction against this spelling, along the lines of “put the Christ back in Christmas.” That’s not an “X”, folks — it’s the Greek letter Chi, which starts the word “Christ”. “X” was very much used among early Christians as an abbreviation for the title of the person they believed was the son of God, with the added bonus that the letter makes the shape of the cross they believed he died on.
So, on that note, Merry Christmas, everyone!